Todai-ji Temple (overview)

Todai-ji is a temple complex that has huge precincts, around which many temples and historic sites are scattered. It has more than a 1200-year history and is undoubtedly one of the most renowned temples in Japan. It is also well known for its Great Buddha statue which is overwhelmingly big and tall.

Here, let us briefly look back at the history of the Todai-ji Temple.

The origin of the Temple dates back to the time when a predecessor temple, Kinshosen-ji, was built in 728. While the eighth century is remembered as glorious time when aristocratic culture was flourishing in Japan, people suffered drought, earthquakes, infectious diseases and social instability.

Emperor Shomu (701-756) determined to calm the people’s anxieties by relying on Buddhism as a guide to lead the country. In 741, he issued an edict to build provincial monastery and nunnery temples throughout the country. Two years later, he gave an order to build the Great Buddha statue in Nara.

Following the edict, about 60 temples, called Kokubun-ji, were built and Todai-ji was designated as the chief temple of the Kokubun-ji network. It played a role as an educational center for the monks and nuns nationwide.

Today, the Temple has a number of historical and valuable treasures as a natural consequence of its long history and the irreplaceable role it has assumed. Eight building structures and 14 Buddha statues are designated as National Treasures.

Listed below are representative places to visit in Todai-ji Temple. As for the details, visit the individual pages.

At least one day is required to fully enjoy the attraction and recognize the real value of Todai-ji Temple!

Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsu-den)

Great South Gate (Nandai-mon)

Nigatsu-do Hall

Hokke-do (Sangatsu-do) Hall

Kaidan-do Hall

Todai-ji Museum


Accessible to the precincts 24 hours a day, except for the facilities where admission is required or which are closed during the nighttime.

Free except for the following four facilities:
– Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsu-den)
– Hokke-do Hall
– Kaidan-do Hall
– Todai-ji Museum

406-1, Zoushi-cho, Nara City 630-8211 Japan

* You are always asked to check information on the official website before you visit.



By bus: Take the Nara City Loop Line bus (clockwise) (Route 2) from Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara Station and get off at bus stop N-7 (Todaiji-Daibutsuden / Kasugataisha-mae) (220 yen). There is a five-minute walk to the north along the approach to the Temple.

On foot: About 20 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station

Or see the Recommended Route – Nara Central Area.

Last updated: October 14, 2023

Text by: Yumi

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